Auburn playing for SEC crown, maybe more on Saturday

Published 8:55 pm Friday, December 6, 2013

Auburn fans enveloped Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium after the Tigers' dramatic win over Alabama last Saturday. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)

Auburn fans enveloped Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium after the Tigers’ dramatic win over Alabama last Saturday. (Jay Sowers | Times-Journal)

Following one of the most memorable Iron Bowl’s in history, Auburn fans are hoping their team is focused and ready to go for this weekend’s SEC Championship game.

Andy Stewart, who attended his 34th consecutive Iron Bowl last week, is concerned the players may have trouble moving past last second wins over Georgia and Alabama to focus on the SEC Championship.

“I’m worried about Auburn being able to bounce back after two last second victories over their two biggest rivals,” Stewart said. “We did have an open week between Georgia and Alabama so hopefully that will serve us well and we will still have some gas in the tank.”

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One year after going 3-9, Auburn is now in the national championship race and only needs Florida State or Ohio State to lose — or a lot of love from voters following a SEC Championship — to play for the national title.

“We are playing with house money now because this season has so far exceeded all of our expectations,” Stewart said.

Though Tiger fans enjoyed last Saturday’s unforgettable, come from behind win against Alabama, they are finally moving forward and looking towards Missouri, Auburn’s opponent in Saturday’s SEC title game.

“Missouri can give anybody fits,” Auburn fanatic Nick Horne said. “They make me nervous.”

Horne admits that even he continues to reminisce about last weekend’s Iron Bowl finish, but he has no doubt that the Tigers will be prepared.

“Gus Malzahn will have his ball club prepared,” Horne said. “He has them down to earth and they will be ready to go.”

The Tigers lone defeat this year came against South Carolina in double overtime and in that game Missouri had a 17-0 fourth quarter lead.

Horne is concerned that Missouri’s receivers will have a big day against an Auburn defense that ranks 100th in the nation giving up 256.7 yards per game.

“Missouri has big physical receivers and that is my biggest concern,” Horne said. “How are Auburn’s defensive backs going to match up with their big physical receivers?”

Missouri wide receivers L’Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham each have caught 10 touchdowns this season, despite injuries to starting quarterback James Franklin that forced freshman Maty Mauk into action.

The game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Saturday on CBS.